Our group initially came together through a deep passion for health care – with the goal of creating a novel product that addressed an unmet need and made a tangible difference in patients’ lives. We felt that if we combined our prior experiences in the industry – either as physicians, investors, researchers, or product managers – we could use our time at HBS as an opportunity to both launch a product and build a business from scratch.
After discussing a number of pain points we had seen in hospitals over the years, we arrived at blood draws: a procedure that, despite being a virtual certainty for anyone admitted to a hospital, still involved a great deal of guess work and discomfort.
We reached out to staff at a number of leading hospitals in Boston and learned that the problem is especially severe in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), where premature babies may stay for their first few days or weeks of life. Nurses in those units told us repeatedly how difficult it is to find veins in these small children, about the unpleasantness from having to needle-stick babies multiple times, and the resulting costs in terms of resources, time, and complications.
With this knowledge, we asked ourselves – could we help do this a better way? While there were existing products on the market, we believed we could create a smaller, less costly device that would better integrate into a nurses’ workflow in the hospital. From that, the concept of the Vein Whisperer was born.
In the next months, we refined the idea and worked towards a prototype by continuing to talk with medical professionals throughout Boston. We also met with engineers at MIT to improve the technical aspects, students at the Harvard Design School to iterate the packaging, and even tapped the expertise of our fellow classmates at HBS to better the product.
Throughout this time, we were continually impressed by people’s willingness to help and the resources HBS and the university provided to guide us towards our vision. After iterating and refining our product numerous times, we arrived at our final prototype which we showcased at HBS and tested out in the NICU to observe its efficacy and nurse uptake.
While we each embarked on different paths after the end of first year– from launching a new healthcare venture in Africa, to working at large pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, to providing direct patient care in a hospital, to biotech investing in New York and Boston, the Vein Whisperer has continued to keep our team united.
Moving forward, we’re working remotely to finalize our patents and will continue to build the company with independent projects as part of the HBS curriculum. The next steps are to ensure we have all the necessary FDA approvals, to get more of our product units into the hands of doctors and nurses in hospitals, and to begin the sales process with the hospitals from which we originally received Letters of Intent. The whole process gave us a glimpse into the world of launching a business, pivoting, second guessing, and ultimately creating something novel to be proud of and to call our own.